Johnny Mullagh was born on this day in 1841 was a leading Victorian cricketer who led the famous 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England. He was a skillful all-rounder, being a right arm bowler and right-handed batsman. Born Unaarrimin, he was given the name ‘Mullagh’ to identify him with his place of birth, a member of the Jardwadjali people, on Mullagh Station, he learned to play cricket whilst working on the adjoining Pine Hills agricultural property. He played 47 matches on the 1868 England tour, scoring 1698 runs at an average of around 20 on pitches that were often treacherous. He also bowled 1877 overs, 831 of which were maidens, and took 245 wickets at 10 apiece. If this wasn’t enough, he would occasionally don wicket-keeping gloves, achieving four stumpings. His performances were impressive enough for him to join the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) as a professional, although he did not remain there for long. Johnny a passionate advocate of indigenous rights, refusing to dwell on state-controlled reserves. He never appeared in inter-colonial cricket although he did represent Victoria against a touring England side in 1879, top scoring with 36 in the second innings. He was then 38 years old, and instead of going in first-wicket-down as he did for his club, batted at nine and 10. Maintaining his independence and dignity to the end, he spent his last days living in a rabbitter’s shack. He continued to play cricket until a few months before his death at Pine Hills Station on 14th August 1891, one day after his 50th birthday. The Hamilton Spectator described him in his obituary as “the Grace of aboriginal cricketers”, while another writer referred to Johnny as “Victoria’s premier batsman”. A memorial was built to honour him in Harrow and a local indigenous tournament created to vie for the Johnny Mullagh Memorial Trophy. In February 2012, the Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Jeanette Powell, announced Johnny as one of the 20 inaugural inductees to the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll.



South African test-cricketer Sibley John “Tip” Snooke, who captained his country to a 3-2 victory against England in 1909-10, died on this day in 1966 at the age of 85, in Port Elizabeth. Born in St Mark’s Tembuland on 1st February 1881 he scored 1,008 Test runs at a batting average of 22.39, including one century against Australia at Adelaide in 1910–11, and took 35 Test wickets at a bowling average of 20.05, with best figures of 8/70 in an innings and 12/127 for a match, both against England at Johannesburg in 1905–06. Four years later against England at Cape Town, he dismissed two batsmen – Wilfred Rhodes and David Denton – in the very first over of a Test match, a feat that was not repeated until nearly ninety years later. All in all he played in 26 Test matches, playing the first 23 between 1906 and 1912, and he was recalled aged 41 for three further Test matches against England in South Africa in 1922–23. He played 124 first-class cricket matches for Border, Western Province and Transvaal, scoring 4,821 runs at an average of 25.91 and taking 120 wickets at an average of 25.14. His brother Stanley also played Test cricket for South Africa.

Indian Test and ODI cricketer Nidhi Ashok Buley was born today in 1986 in Karachi, she represents the India national women’s cricket team as well as Air India in the Indian domestic league. She currently captains of Madhya Pradesh women’s

Syeda Batool Fatima Naqvi, known as Batool Fatima was born on this day 1982, plays for Pakistan as wicket keeper. She has played 50 ODI games, making her debut at Karachi against Netherlands Women on 9th April 2001. Her only Test game was against West Indies Women in 2004.


Edric “Eddie” Leadbeater English Test cricketer was born today in 1927. A right-handed lower order batsman, and a leg-break and googly bowler, he had a couple of good seasons for Yorkshire in 1950 and 1951, but failed to keep his place in the side. He reappeared for Warwickshire County Cricket Club in 1957 and 1958, as a possible replacement for Eric Hollies, who retired after the 1957 season; but he failed to take enough wickets and his contract was not renewed. Eddie’s leg-spin was always inclined to be expensive: in his two good seasons for Yorkshire, his wickets cost an average of around 25 runs apiece. His selection to replace Derbyshire’s injured Bert Rhodes on the 1951-52 Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) tour of India, Pakistan and Ceylon was unexpected, and though he played in two Test matches, he was not a success. Cricket writer, Colin Bateman, noted “Leadbeater was more of an accurate roller, than a traditional leg spinner and his bowling posed few terrors for the Indian batsmen. Dropping out of the Yorkshire side, he joined Warwickshire for 1957 and played fairly regularly in 1958 after Hollies retired. Though he took just 49 wickets (and only 25 of them in Championship matches), he scored his only first-class century in what proved to be his last season: going in as a nightwatchman, he made 116 and shared in a second-wicket stand of 209 with Fred Gardener in the match against Glamorgan. Eddie is a rarity as an England Test cricketer, in that he was never awarded a county cap. After leaving first-class cricket, he played regularly for Almondbury Cricket Club in the Hudderfield Cricket League, before he retired at the age of 68, he passed away on 17th April 2011.

Hemlata Kaka is an Indian cricketer who was born on this day in 1975 at Agra, Uttar Pradesh. She is a renowned exponent of the game,  who played 74 women’s ODI’s and 7 women’s Test matches for India. She is an all-rounder player who bowls right-arm medium fast and a right-hand bat who has shored up many an innings for India. Powerfully built, she has the ability to hit the ball a long way and more often than not ends up scoring at a brisk pace. Hemlata made her Test debut in Shenley against England on 15th July, her last Test being 29th August 2006, also against England at Taunton. Her ODI debut was in the game at Milton Keynes against Ireland.


Ronnie Aird, died at his home at Yapton on this day in 1986, aged 84.  Although a good cricketer he is chiefly remembered for his work at Lord’s.  Appointed Assistant Secretary in 1926 when W Findlay was promoted to Secretary, he continued to serve under Rait Kerr and himself succeeded as Secretary in 1952. He retired in 1962 but was President in 1968-69 and a Trustee from 1971 to 1983, when he became a Life Vice-President, remaining active on the committee almost to the end. Lord Cornwallis, ex-President and a Trustee, once saying of Ronnie, as far back as 1950, when he was still only Assistant Secretary, “No-one realises how much that man has done for Lord’s”.  Ronnie got his colours at Eton in 1919, when he made 60, the top score, against Winchester and was also the team’s wicket-keeper. In 1920 he was replaced behind the wicket by Hill, who afterwards kept for Somerset, but he made 49 against Winchester and 44 not out at Lord’s and was described as perhaps the soundest batsman on the side. In 1921, when he headed the averages, he played a memorable innings of 112 not out, which enabled Eton to win after Guise had scored 278 for Winchester. Like many another good stroke players, he took some time to acclimatise himself to first-class cricket. Though he had a trial for Hampshire in 1921, he was never in the running for a Blue at Cambridge in 1922 and did little later in the season for his county. In 1923 his average for Cambridge was only 15 and he probably owed his Blue to an innings of 64 against Yorkshire, who had Robinson, Waddington, MacAulay and Rhodes to bowl for them, The next highest score was 30. Playing again regularly for Hampshire after term, he was disappointing. However, next year he was able for the only time in his life to play a full season’s county cricket and scored 1,072 runs with an average of 24.36, including hundreds against Sussex, when he and Mead added 266 for the third wicket, and Somerset. After this his place in the side was secure when he was available, but from 1926 on his first-class cricket was limited to two or three matches on his annual holiday and to an occasional appearance for MCC at Lord’s. In 1926 he made 113 against Kent and in 1929 obtained the highest score of his career, 159 against Leicestershire in a total of 272. Altogether for Hampshire between 1921 and 1938 he scored 3,603 runs with an average of 22.24. Later he was for many years the county’s President. He continued to play club cricket after the war when his commitments allowed. A natural games player, he was in two Eton rackets pairs which reached the final at Queen’s. Later he concentrated on tennis and became especially formidable at Lord’s, where he won the Silver Racket six times between 1933 and 1949. In the challenge for the Gold Racket he as defeated twice by Lord Aberdare and four times by Macpherson, both amateur champions. At Cambridge he was virtually promised a soccer Blue if he would learn to head the ball, but he found that this, especially when the ball was wet, gave him such headaches that he did not think it worth it. In later life he was a National Hunt Steward.


Thomas Kingston Kendall, Australian cricketer, died on this day in 1924. Born on 24th August 1851, he was a lower-order left-handed batsman and a slow-to-medium pace left-arm bowler. His 14 wickets in his first two Tests in 1877,  show his ability and indeed his 7/55 in the last innings of the first-ever Test was an important part of the 45-run victory over the England side led by James Lillywhite. It was his bowling that induced the first Test match stumping, when he dismissed Alfred Shaw. Both he and Shaw took eight wickets in the inaugural Test, but as Australia batted first Shaw took his first, but Kendall overtook this in the Second Test and his 14 Test wickets remained a (retrospective) record until passed by Fred Spofforth. These efforts led him to achieve the number 1 ranking in ICC Test Bowler Rankings for the year 1887 (he retained it for the next year). It is not clear why he was omitted from the subsequent Australian team to tour England in 1878, a tour he was available for, he took part in some preliminary matches before the team was selected, although, according to Spofforth, he gained a considerable amount of weight, which may have worked against him. He  played in Melbourne club cricket for Richmond, and represented Victoria once. In 1881, he moved to Hobart where he was employed by The Mercury newspaper. Tasmania did not have regular first-class cricket at that point and his subsequent cricket career was limited to four matches on a tour to New Zealand in 1884 and one against Victoria in 1889. He later stood as an umpire in Tasmanian cricket.


New Zealand Test cricketer William Edward “Bill” Merritt, born on this day in 1908, also played for Canterbury and Northamptonshire. A leg break and googly bowler and a forceful lower order batsman, Bill had played just four first-class matches when he was selected for the New Zealand tour to England in 1927, though no Test matches were played, was a triumph: Bill taking 107 wickets.  He was a certain selection when New Zealand were elevated to Test status with the MCC tour of 1929–30, but failed to live up to expectations. In the four Tests, he took just eight wickets and, though he bowled more than any other New Zealand player, his bowling was hit for more than 3.6 runs an over, a high scoring rate for those days. Returning to England on the 1931 tour, he took 99 first-class wickets, but failed in the Tests and was dropped for the final Test at Manchester, which was in any case ruined by rain.  His greatest moment on the tour came against the MCC at Lord’s, when he bowled throughout the second innings to take 7 for 28 and dismiss the MCC for 48, giving the New Zealanders an innings victory. At the end of the 1931 tour, Bill stayed in England to play League cricket for the Rishton Cricket Club in Manchester, in breach of his New Zealand Cricket Council agreement not to play in England for at least two years; he took over 1000 League Cricket wickets, also scoring more than 7000 runs. After 2 seasons at Rishton he played for East Lancashire and continued to play in the League after the war. In the winters he played Rugby League for Wigan and Halifax, having been a wing three-quarter in the Canterbury team. He played only three more seasons in New Zealand. In 1935-36, his last season at home, he coached Canterbury and took 31 wickets in the Plunket Shield, which remained the record for several years. By 1938 he had qualified by residence to play for Northamptonshire, where his New Zealand Test colleague Ken James had settled as wicket-keeper. In his one full season for the county, 1939, he scored 926 runs and took 87 wickets and was instrumental, with 12 wickets, in enabling Northamptonshire to record their first victory in first-class cricket for almost four years, against Cambridge University. Bill returned to Northamptonshire to play one season after the Second World War and  joined the BBC commentary team for the Test Matches when New Zealand toured England in 1958 and 1969, he died on 9th June 1977.


Paul-Jan Bakker, Dutch right-handed batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler was born on this day in 1957. An accurate seam bowler, he made his ICC Trophy debut in 1986, taking 5/18 against Papua New Guinea, in an international career which spanned a decade. He played all five ODI’s for The Netherlands during the 1996 Cricket World Cup, including his countries first official ODI against New Zealand at the advanced age of 38. Quirkily, his solitary ODI run was an umpiring error against UAE at Lahore. The final delivery of the Dutch innings yielded a scampered bye to keeper Abbasi but without an umpire signal – with contact he would have been caught behind! He has several successful seasons with Hampshire, being their leading wicket-taker in 1989. After the 1996 World Cup Bakker retired from competitive cricket and in 2007 he succeeded Peter Cantrell as Netherlands’ coach on a temporary basis.